What motivates you? Why do you do what you do?
No, for reals. I really want to know. And you need to ask yourself this question. You’ll find that the answer to this question can show you what you are truly worshipping.
Take me, for example. I am a doer. For several years now, I have been extraordinarily productive, efficient, and motivated. At what? Pretty much everything. And to be honest, I became really, super efficient when I started following Jesus in college.
The question is why?
My first answer is: because I like to get things done. I enjoy accomplishing things. Having my lists checked off is satisfying to me.
This answer is not good enough because it does not get to the root of this behavior.
So I ask further – Why do I like to get things done? Why do I enjoy accomplishing things? Why does checking off boxes on a list satisfy me?
My first thought is that maybe I like to please people – maybe my idol is what other people think of me. And yes, that’s true. I do like worshipping others through people-pleasing. I do get bent out of shape when I think someone doesn’t like me or doesn’t approve of me. Approval is certainly an idol.
But that doesn’t completely answer the question – many of the things I do nobody sees. They’re dumb things, like cleaning out junked up cabinets, or baking a cake from scratch, or organizing data until it makes sense. Things nobody has asked me to do; things nobody expects me to do; things nobody rewards me to do. So approval is not the be all end all for me.
So I have to refine my question. The question is still Why, but it’s now more specific: Why do I feel satisfied when I finish something – even when no one else knows about it?
It took me a long time to realize the answer to this question – in fact, I just came to this conclusion a few months ago. Yes, by the grace of God, I now know the idol to whom I always go – begging for solace from a pitcher with holes:
I want to be comfortable. In fact, I long for comfort – not just comfort, but I lust for a life of ease. I know it seems a little counter-intuitive, but all of the things I do? I do them because I want them to be done – gone – never to return. I think, If I just get this one more thing done, I’ll be able to relax!
I love having a clean house – but when a crumb gets on the newly cleaned floor? That’s when my idol starts to mock me: It will never be done this side of heaven. When I triumphantly return to real life after a fog of doing – there is something else on my list. And there always will be. And many of those things will need to be done again and again.
Life is not comfortable. There is no such thing as heaven on earth. Until Jesus returns, I could do, do, do and worship the comfort that I will never gain from doing.
Instead, I want to worship Jesus. And He wants me to worship Him and Him alone.
To find out what you’re worshipping right now, ask yourself the same, iterative questions until you get to the bare bones of what you really desire. Crave. Yearn for. And replace it with Him.